Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

& her barefoot heart

Tag: relationship (page 1 of 7)

The “Re” Nobody Tells You About

Out1

I married a man
who developed a strong, solid good
reputation in his career field
for being a man
of integrity,
a man who keeps his word,
a man who is patient
a man who understands that
everybody at the table needs to make money.

I married a man
who, despite building an impressive career,
never missed a soccer game
or a stage performance
or a parents’ night.

I married a man
who enjoys cooking
(and not just on the grill)
and grocery shopping
(except during The Season)
and tending a garden
(when the crows leave him enough to tend).

I married a man
who literally swept me into his arms
and carried me out of the church
because the car that hit me six weeks before
broke my knee.
A man continues to
sweep me off my feet
in ways large
and small.

In in the past 41 years,
I’ve married this man many times over,
only once
when we stood in front of a group of people,
repeating the words of a preacher I never particularly liked.
Every other time
the vows have been quiet, private vows
of laughter
of hand-holding
of listening
of sharing a look
of sharing the look
of being quiet
of staying.
Because in 41 years of togetherness,
you learn that
marriage is a series of re-marriages.

JeanneAndyPreWeddingResized

Coloring My World (Outside the Lines) With Brilliant and Vibrant Goodness for Forty-one Years (And Counting)

ARCHoldingJHCBdayCakeFeb1973

(Andy, less than a month after we met. I asked him to hold my birthday cake so I could take a picture of it.)
(Honestly, it’s a wonder the cake even made it in the photo
cause all I really wanted was a picture of HIM.
I’d known him 18 days at this point in time,
and already I knew I loved him with my whole heart.)
(And then some.)

AKAndyJuly1980Beach090

(Alison, Andy, and Kipp)

AKAndySlidingRockNC310a

(Kipp, Andy, and Alison at Sliding Rock in NC.)
(He told them about sliding down the wet boulders, but he kinda’ “forgot” to mention how cold the water is in the pool at the bottom.)

Dear Andy,
For the way you . . .

  • continue to hold my hand after 42 years
  • drive me to workshops
  • never fuss (at least not on the outside) about how much something costs if it makes me smile
  • laugh at things I say
  • sing along with me (this is not a metaphor)
  • walk closest to the street on sidewalks
  • open doors for me as an act of consideration and respect, not from a place of condescension
  • find us the most remarkable places to live
  • continue to rouse and rally the butterflies in my stomach with your kiss
  • see my strengths and abilities when I can’t or don’t
  • sharing my love of quirky and odd. (It makes life so much easier.)
  • encourage and support me towards self-determined life (even though so many times it would undoubtedly be easier not to)
  • love Nancy so openly and tenderly and share her with me so willingly
  • never had a business meeting more important than your child’s soccer game
  • never once were too tired to attend a performance
  • gave piggyback rides till they were tired instead of till you were tired
  • worked two and sometimes three jobs so I could stay home as a full-time mother and find outlets for the kids to explore their varied interests and become their best, most creative selves
  • drove home from the office, picked us up, then drove us back to wherever the kids needed to go just so we could have extra together time in the car
  • use your creativity so brilliantly and profitably, always crafting situations where everybody is satisfied
  • continue to show our children what a real, honorable, good man looks like, sounds like, acts like – not just occasionally or when things are going swell, but every minute of every day through every smile and tear . . .

Thank you.

I couldn’t’ve found a better husband
or a better dad for our children
if I’d had a million years to look.

Happy Father’s Day.

AlKippAndy0879118b

(Kipp, Andy, Alison)

AndyNancyChristmas1999

(Nancy and Andy, 1999)

AndyAlisonKipp123104cropped

(Andy, Alison, and Kipp)

ARCGrandCanyon1992

(Andy at the Grand Canyon.)
(Let it not escape your notice that I stopped him before he backed out over the edge.)

It really is all we need, you know.

DahliaStruts

One

Alison’s recovery is nothing short of remarkable.
Yesterday, her surgeon came into room 713
and sat on the bed with Alison to remove the drainage tube.
Dr. Shaw: Now sing me an “eeeeeeee”.
Alison sang an “eeeee”.
Dr. Shaw, with a big smile on her face: “That was beautiful.”
Alison: “But it was only a G.”

Art and science collide.

Dr. Shaw,
the surgeon who loves science,
speaks in terms of the particular sound
that will allow her to gauge the performance of Alison’s vocal cords.
Alison,
the professional singer with perfect pitch,
and for whom music is oxygen,
hears and responds in terms of musical notes.

~~~~~~~

Two

~~~~~~~

Three

This is a love story written by a friend and former coworker of my son, Kipp.

i miss him most on days that end in “y”

JeanneDaddy

thirteen years. it’s been thirteen years since daddy died – and while it seems like the events happened yesterday or maybe just this morning, in my heart it feels like he’s been away forever. i must’ve been a better person then because i told him it was okay to go, okay to die, and i knew it was the right thing to do. but now . . . there are days i merely second guess myself; other days i despise myself for that. why didn’t i tell him not yet, to stay with us, that i still needed him?

i still talk to him, you know, writing him letters – sometimes carrying on conversations right out loud. every year on my birthday, i pen him a letter saying simply “daddy, you were once the age i am now – what would you like me to know?” eventually i will be the age he was when he died. people in his family are bad to die young and in december (a trend i fully intend to break). this year, on my big birthday, he told me to live – to cut loose and flat-out live. “what have you got to lose?” he asked, “the things you want to do don’t hurt anybody, so go on, doll, do ’em.”

other times i ask for other kinds of help – like a week ago today when i implored him to hold off the predicted freezing rain, sleet, and snow at least long enough to give us time to make the 8-hour round trip to pick up my son, his fiancee, and mother and deliver us all safely back atop the mountain for a week of thanksgiving togetherness. he obliged. on saturday when the congestion started, complete with sore throat and chills, i asked him to please make it so i’d feel better the next morning when the travel started to return everybody to their respective homes. even though i thought that request quite impossible, i woke up yesterday morning feeling fine and have ever since – no more coughing, no more scratchy throat, just enough congestion to allow me to sing my favorite songs without having to jump octaves. he still takes good care of me, daddy does, though i try not to impose too often because each request seems like i’m calling him in from the playground early.

NewDaddyCrawford

it’s true: i can talk to him any time, but i want him here. i want him sitting at the table eating turkey. i want him touching his shoulders to his ears as he lets loose a belly laugh. i want him beaming with love and pride at kipp’s wedding next may. and don’t try telling me “he’s there” because i know he’s here in spirit, but i want to touch him. i want to feel his arms wrap me in a hug like nobody else on earth can do. i want to sit next to him and have him tell me his plans for the future and listen to mine, giving me his support for those he considers good ideas, candidly expressing his doubt or dislike for ideas he considers cockamamie. i want to talk to him, laugh with him, hear him tell me stories.

twice i’ve felt his rough, pudgy hands in dreams, and though it’s not nearly enough, i’m grateful for those two visits, hoping, hoping, hoping for more every night as i close my eyes.

CrawfordObitPix

he’s enjoying his life now, wherever he is – he’s told me as much in a variety of ways – and i know that i’m supposed to be happy about that . . . and i am . . . but oh good lord how i do miss him. right down to the cellular level there this deep, profound ache that varies in intensity, but never really totally disappears. i miss him part of every minute of every hour of every day, and i miss him most especially on the days that end with “y”.

[ ::: ]

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers is not ashamed to tell you that she will always be her daddy’s doting little girl, and that her daddy will always be her Hero. Always, I tell you.

Sands Through the OURglass

Out1

Forty years ago, I publicly promised to spend the rest of my life with this one man named Andy – a man I’d known a scant six months at the time. I’m still married to him though we don’t look the same and neither does our marriage . . .

Then we vowed to stay with each other in sickness and in health with only some romanticized notion of what that meant based on movies we’d seen and books we’d read. Now after his stent a few years ago and my recent bout with staph infection, we have a clearer idea of what that means, the patience it requires, the commitment is demands.

Then we spent a lot of energy finding ways to be together. Now that we’re together 24/7, we find ways to build some space in our togetherness – even if it’s only agreeing to work on our separate projects for three hours then meet in the kitchen at noon for lunch.

Then we looked forward to the weekends for the romps and recess they offered. Now that the structure provided by careers and children is gone, we create our own weekends by doing something outside the normal routine, even if it’s simply dropping the dog off at the spa then taking ourselves on a walk through the local village green to look at the new art sculptures on display or taking a leisurely trip to the local museum.

Then we were high on the thrill of discovering everything we could about each other. Now we deliberately find ways to lay out the welcome mat for surprise in general, even if it’s something as simple attending an art lecture on the Spiritual Language of Paintings and practicing our new vocabulary and pondering our new perspectives over pizza afterwards.

Then we held hands everywhere we went.
We still do.

Then we laughed as often as possible.
We still do.

Then we made it a point to argue and disagree in ways that don’t require follow-up apologies.
We still do.

Then we knew we’d spend the rest of our life together.
We still do, though we now know that forever isn’t infinite, and that makes all the difference in the world.

JeanneAndy07319173framed

14,600 Days or 350,400 Hours or The Blink of an Eye – It’s All the Same to Me

JeanneAndyFormal1974

Forty years ago today, I walked into a bar in Underground Atlanta with a girlfriend and walked out several hours later with the man who would, in a mere six months, become my husband. Our forty years of togetherness have been marked by much change. We’ve birthed two amazing people, and we’ve buried too many to count. We’ve laughed and cried . . . and eventually laughed again. We’ve pursued our own interests and always come back home to tell each other all about it. We’ve shared interests, cheered each other on in individual pursuits, and worked side-by-side on all sorts of things.

An engineer by training, he views, interprets, and goes through the world in a more linear way than this quirky Aquarian. He is patient, I lean towards impulsive. He is literal, I see and hear metaphors everywhere. He is formulaic, I live like like a pot of soup, pulling sparklies in from every whichaway. He is quite thorough, I want immediate results and have a tendency to get bored and move on. We are good for each other.

It’s not always been easy, but it’s always been the two of us together, and that sure helps. I am not the same woman I was forty years ago, and he is not the same man who mixed me that Tom Collins. But laughter, space in our togetherness, listening, and holding hands continue to define our way of loving each other.

As he says, I’m the best he could do with the car he was driving at the time. And as I say, he’s the best I could do with the boobs I had at the time. Here’s to at least another forty, Andy.

Clink.

Cheers.

JeanneAndy1980sRes

What 39 Years of Togetherness Looks Like

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Our togetherness is the same.
Our togetherness is different.

We’ve done things that were unbelievably fun. We’ve done things that were unbelievably sad . . . and we’ve held hands through it all.

We’ve done things together, we’ve done things solo, and we make it a point to never run off and outgrown one another.

See how he swooped me off my feet and carried me out of the church? That’s because I’d been hit by a car while crossing the street about six weeks before the wedding. The cast came off less than a week before we said “I will. I surely will,” and I was still on crutches. I didn’t know he was going to do that, but I’m sure glad he did cause if he hadn’t, we’d still be making our way out.

He still crunches ice (something that drives me up the wall), but I just put a finger in the ear closest to him and wonder to myself how one little ole bitty piece of ice can possibly pack that much crunch time. And what do I do that drives him crazy? Not a damn thing. I can’t believe you asked.

I help him clean up when he drops or spills something (even though I sometimes roll my eyes on the inside). He cheers when I get another diploma (even though he thinks the money could’ve been better invested) cause we have this unspoken agreement that each one of us is about as perfect as we can stand and not a drop more, so we cut each other some slack and call it endearing quirkiness.

I ride with him to Lowe’s, he drives me to the fabric store just so we can be together.

Now that I’m seriously writing my book and he’s home 24/7, he’s taken over most of the cooking and grocery shopping, something I’ve always despised doing and he has never really minded.

We recently bought a boat that takes us around the lake twice in less than half the time we used to spend making one lap around in the pontoon boat. We wanted sport and speed this time because we’re much younger now.

I may be a bit more vocal and he may take a few more meds, but we still laugh and hug and hold hands and kiss. We still ask each other questions and listen to the answers. We tell each other what intrigues us, what tickles us, what puzzles us. We overlook the bad and point out the good. We ask each other for help, though sometimes we don’t wait for the asking to step in and assist.

Mostly, though, we laugh. We laugh a lot. We laugh at each other (eventually), and we laugh at ourselves. We laugh when things take a funny bounce, we laugh when things are easy peasy. Life is funny, and we feast on that.

By now, we’ve known each other 39 years instead of the scant 62 days we knew each other before we became engaged, and the feelings that first connected us remain intact – wizened and weathered, perhaps, but enduring despite it all.

He continues to say that I was the best he could do with the car he was driving at the time. And I still say he was the best I could do with the boobs I had at the time.

to be continued . . .

absence

Grief1

“I’ve stopped for some ice cream,” he said into his cell phone,
standing in the center of the ice cream shop,
talking loud enough for all of us
and those in the sandwich shop next door to hear.
“Do you want me to bring you something, hon?”
And in that single question
from the lips of a man I’ve never seen before
and will never see again,
I missed my Daddy in what can only be called
a tsunami of tremendous ache
that lingers right beneath the surface,
regardless of how many calendar pages I’ve torn off.

~~ :: ~~

ripening

JeanneAndy07319173

i met him 39 years ago tonight. he was a bartender, and i was one of two girlfriends enjoying a night on the town. we were only looking for a free drink, but i got so much more – the bartender’s eye that night, and his heart soon after. he had my heart from the get-go.

i still feel a tingle when i see him after even the briefest absence. his lips are still the softest lips i’ve ever kissed. he is gentle, and though he doesn’t always understand me, he at least tries. his logical, linearly-inclined way of thinking his way through the world nicely balances my more metaphorically-inclined, search-for-the-story way that bends towards unpredictable. we hold hands wherever we are. he’s never put his work before family, and most importantly: we laugh. a lot.

we’re not the same people now, individually or together. how could we be, really? and our love is different, too. not better, not worse, just different.

and still changing all the time.

More about 365 Altars

///

he has a good heart

blessings

it is his fourth
battery of tests
in less than a year,
there is no comfort in that.

they do not make eye contact
when we check in,
there is no comfort in that.

we are directed to go
across the hall
to sit and wait
in the waiting room
with taupe walls
and taupe baseboards
and taupe carpet.
with signs taped
to the wall
ordering us
to turn off cell phones
and demanding that we
ring the bell
only once.
there is no comfort in that.

we were not told
before our arrival
about all of the tests
to be run today.
that is not good
to hear,
but maybe,
just maybe,
not knowing
prevented much
anticipatory stress.

other patients
come and go
without so much as a
grunt about why he
is Back There
for hours
and hours.
there is no comfort in that.

finally the tests are done
and we are directed
to go to another waiting room.
this one as cold
as the other was
stuffy.
we wait
and we wait
and we wait,
more than
one-and-a-half hours
after the
appointment time
we’d agreed on
some eight months ago,
we wait.
there is no comfort in that.

eventually
we are escorted to
a taupe
exam room,
adorned with
a poster of a sailboat
in a cheap frame.
where the assistant
looks over his records
and seems quite
surprised
to hear that
his medications
changed over
six months ago.
there is no comfort in that.

finally
we are told
that he passed
all the tests –
every single one of them –
with flying colors.
blood pressure: excellent.
blood flow: excellent.
overall circulatory system: excellent.
and there’s great, huge,
tremendous
comfort in that.

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